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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Deja vu for Freeman’s Ryan Maine

Cle Elum-Roslyn’s Nick Baker did just about everything right en route to repeating as State 1A golf champion.

He needed to, because Freeman’s Ryan Maine was right there in his rear-view mirror.

Baker was bogey-free until the 17th hole and shot a 3-under 67 Wednesday at Liberty Lake for a four-shot victory. Maine was runner-up for the second straight year, closing with a 70 and a two-round total of 142. First-day leader John Sand of Hoquiam struggled with a 79 (149).

“Nick hits it really consistent and he hit a lot of good putts,” Maine said. “He never gets in any trouble.”

Maine had a rough start with bogeys on 2, 3 and 6, but the junior played the last 11 holes in 3-under.

“Those two three-putt bogeys early really killed me,” Maine said. “But I played really well on the back and I made some good putts.”

Maine birdied Nos. 10, 12 and 13 to pull within four. His par putt from 12 feet on No. 11 lipped out. He made a nifty chip with very little room to work with to save par on No. 17.

“I hit the ball really well both days,” Maine said. “My misses weren’t as bad today. No. 15 really hurt me (Tuesday). It’s tough to win a tournament anywhere with a triple bogey. You have to make a lot of birdies to make that up.”

Baker’s final birdie, on No. 14, gave him a five-stroke edge. After stroking the 25-foot putt, Baker asked for his ball to “slow down,” and it followed instructions. It hit the back of the cup, popped into the air and dropped in the hole. It probably would have rolled 6 to 8 feet past if it didn’t hit the hole dead center.

“I played really solid. I couldn’t have hit the ball a heck of lot better,” Baker said. “I think last year I kind of learned to stay in the moment. It’s easy to think you have a five-shot lead, but you have to focus on the shot at hand and that was key.”

Baker, 2014 champion Sand and Maine, who has a busy summer schedule ahead of him, are juniors so there’s a good chance they’ll battle again at next year’s state tournament.

King’s won the boys’ and girls’ titles. The Freeman boys finished fifth.

King’s Hannah Roh (69-149) won the girls’ title. Freeman’s Rhea Jansen (83-172) was seventh.

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